LEO Broadband 5G Competition to Make Internet Access Affordable for End Users

LEO Broadband 5G

New Delhi: Competition arising out of LEO satellite broadband and fifth-generation or 5G network technology will enable affordable access to the internet and digital services for end-users in India, according to a top DE-CIX executive.

DE-CIX is a Germany-based carrier- and data-center-neutral Internet exchange point, while in India, its Internet exchange points are present in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Kolkata.

“Competition (in urban areas) will lead to the result that at the end private and business users will get even more reasonable commercial solutions and more reasonable costs such as the cost of access to the Internet and digital services.”

Said Ivo Ivanov, CEO DE-CIX International. Also, satellite broadband will boost internet access in rural areas of the country.

Having said this, Ivanov believes that satellite operators and telecom operators vying for 5G will cooperate or compete in certain areas depending on the business model and their competitive outlook.

One area for collaboration, according to him, is the use of LEO satellite infrastructure as a “strong backbone” for 5G coverage from space.

“I think this will bring more offerings to the market, and spur innovation and create more affordable tariffs on Internet access for end-users, especially in areas where the economic power of the population is not strong enough to pay the fee. High end for access to the internet,” he said.

To be sure, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) last month approved 5G trials that will allow telcos like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea to develop use cases for the next-generation technology. The trial will last for six months.

On the other hand, private players such as OneWeb (co-owned by Bharti Global and the UK government), Elon Musk’s SpaceX Technologies, and Hughes Communications India, the US satellite company Hughes Network Systems’ local arm, are competing for neck and neck for. To take the lead in launching satellite broadband services in the country.

Sunil Mittal had earlier told Scoop Beats that OneWeb plans to offer satellite broadband services in India by May/June 2022.

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According to Ivanov, early movers will gain better market share and a larger customer base and make interconnections with other networks more relevant.

He further underlined that the growth in satellite broadband access requires full policy support from the government, policymakers, and various stakeholders to develop the relevant infrastructure.

“All the stakeholders involved in launching, from the federal government to local communities, municipalities, etc., to various states, should look after the development infrastructure (LEO satellites, fiber, 5G technology, and interconnection platforms) needed by the country.

It should be developed everywhere across India, as this will lead to Digital India… It is the foundation of the growth of Indian economy and one of the major essential pre-conditions for making Digital India.”

According to ABI Research, the satellite broadband market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8% to reach 5.2 million customers in 2026 and generate $4.1 billion in revenue.

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